For new mothers, there’s something quietly ingenious about the muslin wrap. Before babies, it’s hard to appreciate its myriad functions – burping baby, breastfeeding cover, pram cover, travel blanket, swaddle...
Enter Marloe London. Founders Chloe Riddell and Marina Sevier have taken the essential motherhood accessory, the muslin, and turned it into a beautiful and wearable fashion scarf which is soft and practical for babies too. “We see our Marloes as the equivalent of Swiss army pen knifes for motherhood (and beyond), as much scarves as shawls, as comfort blankets, swaddles or sarongs,” says Sevier. The luxury scarf blankets come in in organic cotton and bamboo muslin and are designed, dyed and finished in Britain. They also make perfect presents for mother and baby when you personalise them with bespoke embroidery.
What’s more, Riddell and Sevier are passionate philanthropists. Last year, after discovering that due to the organic cotton and bamboo composition, their scarf blankets were popular among patients undergoing cancer treatment, they promptly donated 70 blankets to London’s Royal Marsden Hospital. And on Mother’s Day, Marloe London is launching an exclusive aqua and coral scarf blanket on behalf of the Lady Garden Campaign, with profits to be donated to the Gynaecological Cancer Fund in an effort to empower women and raise awareness of gynaecological cancer. Endorsed by Chloe Delevingne, the blanket will be available exclusively through Selfridges and Marloe London. We caught up with the duo to talk blankets and babies.
Words: Sara Duncan | Go to www.marloelondon.com
L-R: Chloe Riddell and Marina Sevier
What is the best advice you’ve been given about motherhood?
That old cliché but a happy mother equals happy children.
Can you tell us about your childhood – where did you grow up, what was it like?
Marina: My dad’s job took us abroad so my childhood was a combination of American international schools and later boarding schools in the English countryside.
Chloe: I grew up in West London, not far from where I live now. I push my children on the same swings that I used to be pushed in.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
We share similar qualities of both being determined, thoughtful and chocaholics!
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
It is hard work but ultimately very liberating. If you have an idea just go for it.
Where did Marloe London begin – when did the idea come to you?
It’s difficult to understand fully the importance of muslins before having babies (we’re not even sure we knew what they were). Afterwards, it seemed you could never have enough. While there are other options around, none of them seemed big or stylish enough. We saw a gap in the market for something that was both practical and sophisticated – a scarf that was not just for babies. That’s what we’ve aimed to create.
Can you take us through the process behind each piece and how you imagine them being used?
Marloe London scarf blankets are extra large (140x140cm) and super soft, made from a combination of organic cotton and bamboo. The Marloe is the equivalent of a Swiss army penknife for mothers and babies – as much a scarf, shawl, sarong – as it is a beach towel, baby blanket, swaddle, buggy shade… the list of uses goes on. Everyday it reinvents itself. We are yet to try it out for cheese making!
Co-founder Chloe Riddell with her children, Rufus, 3.5, and Cosmo, 1.5. Chloe wears a Marloe London scarf blanket
Did your career change after you became a mother – were you more or less determined/ambitious?
We both gave up our respective jobs to be full time mothers and work on Marloe London. We have become experts in multi-tasking and making the most of working during children’s nap times.
What are your time management tips – how do you juggle it all?
Being a mother is hardcore! We have huge admiration for mothers whether they look after their child full time or choose to go back to work. The juggle is a challenge we embrace and enjoy. If the children eat the same things two days in a row it is not the end of the world and equally if bedtime is later than we would like, ultimately it doesn’t matter. Your sanity has to be a top priority.
What are your tips for getting out the door without a fuss?
Chloe: I’d have more time if I got up earlier but I love my sleep! I pack my bag the night before with all the things I need. Often I am out of the house all day so I have to remember to take lunch boxes, iPad, chargers, sunglasses and all things I might need with the children or going on to work meetings.
Marina: We all pile into bed around 6.30am, get dressed and have breakfast together, my husband heads to the office and then my day becomes a chaotic juggling act between work on the go, play dates, nursery runs, synchronising naps and food. 7pm I put the kids to bed and breathe!
What is your approach to health and wellbeing?
Health and wellbeing are so important. Neither of us drink a huge amount and love Netflix (currently watching The Crown) and an early night.
How to you treat yourself?
A walk followed by a cosy pub lunch with friends.
What is your definition of success?
Happy customers and good feedback. It is great seeing people out and about wearing and using our product.
What did your own mother teach you about life and motherhood?
The more time you put in to your children, the more you get back.
What do you love most about raising children in London?
Chloe: London feels like a cross between a global super-city, with incredible culture and a series of villages, each with their own communities and vibe. My children love going to see the T-Tex at the Natural History Museum followed by lunch at our local farmers market.
What are your fashion essentials – the items on high rotation in your closet?
We live in jeans, converse all stars and a Chinti and Parker cashmere jumpers. You can never have enough good quality grey marl or white t-shirts from J. Crew, best accessorized with a bright coloured Marloe London scarf (of course).
What are your new mama essentials?
Plenty of chocolate to keep energy levels up and a bottle of Hepple Gin for new dads.
Pram of choice?
Baby bag of choice?
What baby beauty products do you love?
We love Baby Bjorn products and could not live without their baby bouncer, carrier and travel cot.